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Dual Language Immersion Minor Spotlight: Meet Sierra Furner

Updated: May 10, 2023

Did you know that in Utah over 160 schools participate in a dual language immersion program? In these programs, students have the opportunity to learn Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

It turns out that there are more than 3,000 dual immersion programs across the nation that teach many different languages.

To be qualified to teach in this setting, add the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) minor to your degree!

Sierra Furner is a student studying Elementary Education who is currently enrolled in the Dual Language Immersion minor.

She grew up in South Korea where she experienced first hand being in an immersion setting from 1st through 4th grade. Although she loved this experience, it was her mission in Chile that inspired her to earn the DLI minor.

Something that Sierra loves about the minor is that it not only teaches English speakers a second language, but it allows students who speak other languages to continue learning in that language.

Here in Utah, these DLI programs have a "50-50" class setting where half of the instruction is in English and the other half is in another language. Because of this inclusive setting, English learners are taught in English during half of the day and in their native language the other half. For example, if a student speaks Spanish at home and enrolls in a Dual Immersion Program for English and Spanish, they will have instruction for half the day in English and half the day in Spanish. This helps students retain their first language and find opportunities to lead and help peers learn the language they already are fluent in.

When Sierra started her other education classes, she noticed that the DLI minor had prepared her for lesson planning and so much more. The minor supports her in the rest of her education.

Sierra explained that "I wish more people talked about the Dual Language Immersion Program, especially with how many students we have at BYU that served missions and learned languages." BYU students who know a second language can retain and strengthen that language and fine tune their teaching skills through this minor.

To those deciding to add this minor, Sierra says, "the minor has helped me in every aspect of teaching, even if I don't end up working in a Dual Language Immersion class." Even if your end goal changes from teaching in an immersion program, you will have language proficiency to recommend you in other areas of life. There are certain exams and classes you need to take to qualify for the minor, but these things will only solidify your knowledge of the language and your ability to teach in these settings.

It seems that there is nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain by adding the DLI minor!

Click the link to learn more about the minor.

Want to meet with a student ambassador to talk a little more about this minor or other minors? Click here to learn more about us and schedule an appointment!

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